Friday, January 29, 2010

FlashBack Friday~January 29, 2010

Today's FlashBack pics were taken at the end of January 2009.

This one is of Jenna. One night Jason went to put his wedding band on the kids' hands for size comparison pics. When he put it on Jenna's hand, we quickly realized that her tiny hand fit right through the band and dangled loosely on her wrist. Her little arms were so thin, that his band slid down to her elbow. I like this photo because it reminds me that sometimes the greatest love comes in the tiniest of packages.

Jason took this second picture a couple weeks after Jenna and Blake were born. I like this one because he captured a very quiet moment I was having with Blake. Even though I wanted so badly to reach in there, pick him up and bring him to me to hold and love on, I treasured every moment I was able to spend with him.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In a Much Better Place

Thankfully, January is proving to be a much calmer and much less stressful one than last year's. Last year at this time, we had just received news of Jenna having experienced a bilateral IVH, or Intraventricular Hemmorrhage (brain bleed). We were completely taken back, shocked, and afraid for what this might mean for our little girl's future. The thought of Jenna having to struggle even more than she already was from her emergency arrival, broke our hearts. Her bleeds were that of grade three, meaning she was experiencing enlarged or swollen ventricles in her brain. The news was devestating. We were told that she was at considerable risk for having cerebal palsy or other dev delays. We took the information, asked questions, did research, listened to her possible prognosis and prayed harder than the nights before. The doctors were very caring, empathetic and patient with all of our questions. Dr. Su, Anna, April, Janice, Rhonda, Beth and a few of "our" additional, wonderful care-takers remained positive and hopeful. I remember one particular evening, Anna and I were takling, tears in eyes, and she told me, "Don't ever underestimate little Miss Jenna Lou" (that was Anna's nick name for Jenna) She is going to be fine". We were so scared about the unknown.We had so many of you, our family and friends on our side....on Jenna's side. This is part of the post I wrote last year.....

We were told last night that Jenna in fact has grade 3 bleeds on BOTH sides of her brain. She received another head sono this AM to check for continued bleeding. The preliminary appears to be the same. The final will come back later today. Please, please, please let the bleeding have stopped.

So many emotions............questions..............uncertainty..............conerns.

However, we are extremely hopeful and optimistic. Our little girl has already shown us how strong she is and was deemed "feisty" and "spunky" the first day she was born. The way we look at it, she is a real fighter. The power of positive thinking and prayer, I believe, can sometimes be the best healer. Thank you all for your continued prayers. We can really use the support.

From that day, Jason and I listened to our hearts, "listened" to Jenna, and became more focused and stronger. With help, we used our uncertainty and fear to fuel hope and optimism. Jenna (and Blake) had already shown us the previous 12 days, how much they wanted to be with us, showed us how strong they were and what fighters they both were. This day last year, our little girl, showed the "spunk", "and feistiness" that we had come to know of her within the first week of life. She showed us what real strength is....strength that was not overshadowed by a tiny, fraile, weak body but by will power, desire and love, and that beat all odds. She did not give up. She not only beat the odds but she met and surpassed our biggest hopes and dreams. We dreampt that one day we would look at Jenna and see that nothing physically or mentally, was holding her back. That it would take minimal intervention to help get her there. Jenna had other plans. Thankfully, what Dr. Su and others had told us about how sometimes at this early stage of development, the brain could do some "re-wiring" and overcome the trauma that she had experience had become the case for Jenna. The brain is an amazing organ indeed. This very resilence paired with Jenna's strength, has provided her with an amazing outcome. As I sit and watch her today playing and giggling with her brother, smiling and saying "dada", I can't help but to beam with joy. I am so very grateful that we are in a much better place today.

Thank you family and friends for your love and support, positive thoughts and energy. Like Jason and I, Jenna and Blake made it through and kept faith with your help. Sincerest thanks for being a large part of the start of Jenna's healing that day.

~As you can see, some days, this blog has become a bit of a journal for me. I hope that one day Jenna and Blake will read this and learn of the amazing journey their first year (+) of life has been so far and that they know the heroism that they have shown their mommy and daddy. You guys are OUR heroes. We love you.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Blake and Jenna's 12Month Check up and Shots

Jason and I took Jenna and Blake for their 12m check up today. The kids were so good, even having had their little fingers pricked for blood work and get FOUR shots.

The weigh in....
Last year on this date, Jenna weighed 1 pound 7 ounces.
Today, she weighs a whopping 19 pounds 4 ounces! Can you believe it?

Last year on this date, Blake weighed 1 pound 7 ounces.
Today, he weighs a healthy 19 pounds 8 ounces! It's amazing how much things can change in a single year. Still too difficult for me to "wrap my brain around it" sometimes.

For growth, we have two reports to share for each. First in comparison to 8/9months, or their adjusted age group. (this would be considered their preemie growth chart in a sense)
Jenna is in the 70-75th%tile for height/weight.
Blake is in the 50th%tile for height/weight.

The second report, being their percentile on the 12m (full term) growth chart.
Jenna is in the 25th% for height/growth.
Blake is in the 10th% for height and growth.

Pretty darn impressive for two micropreemies huh? We are sooooooo very proud of them. This means that as far as growth is concerned, they have quickly caught up to their (full term) 12m peers!

Now for the rest of the news. Dr. Fasci is very pleased with their growth and development. She said she would not guess they were preemies by their appearance or behaviors. She was very pleased to hear that Jenna, too, had been released from physical therapy last week. She says that she looks great with her movement and tone and loves that she is "talking" so much. She also said the same about Blake. When we told her that the kids were standing and that Blake has sttod a few times on his own, she was delighted. She proceeded to tell us that for her, they are truly miracles. Just the fact that they are doing so well, are so healthy and are exhibiting a much faster "preemie catch up" time. I thank God each and every day that we were not only granted the most precious gifts with having Blake and Jenna but also for how incredibly well they continue to do.

Dr. Fasci also reported that Blake and Jenna have nearly completely caught up with their 12m full term peers! She reports that they look and act just like any other 12m old. She reminded us to continue to keep in mind that they are preemies and to continue being conservative through RSV and flu season, given their chronic lung disease and medical history but that she encourages us to trade out deeming them as 8month babies for 12m toddlers. That excited me so much and makes me sad too. The saying that kids grow too fast has proven itself to me a hundred times over in the last 6months or so. When they were struggling to put on a single ounce per day to make it to 2lbs, 3lbs, and so on, in my mind, they couldn't grow fast enough. Once they came home, they grew and grew and grew. And here we are now.

Feeding....It is well over due that Jason and I introduce table foods to Blake and Jenna. Again, we were going off of their adjusted age and feeding them accordingly. We've been feeding them baby food twice a day and cereal at night....bottles through out the day. No table foods as of yet besides a little mashed potatoes, oh, and whip cream(thanks Aunt Donna, she gave them some on Thanksgiving). Dr. Fasci suggested that we get a nutritionist and feeding specialist in to evaluate the kids. Not due to any concerns, just to help fully evaluate beings that they were intubated a couple times and were on feeding tubes and ventilator for some time. She feels that they will be off of formula completely by about 15months. They aren't quite ready for whole milk yet until we introduce and regularly feed table foods and would like to see their formula intake decrease. We can start with mashed potatoes, green beans, yogurt, cheerios, gerber graduates. Also, another goal is to regularly use sippy cups. We've given the kids sippy cups from time to time, but again, I think Jason and I were going along with their adjusted age and were maybe holding them back a bit. with the sippy cup transition. So.....mommy went grocery shopping and is pulling out the sippy cups, the cheerios and graduate puffs, yogurt and other "yum-yums". Jason had a great suggestion the other day. He wanted to know what I thought about starting to have dinner together all four of us at the table. That way, it will get them used to sitting and eating while we do, in prep for when they are feeding themselves. I think its a great idea and will establish "family time" early on. Oh, and then there is the benefit of getting them used to it so we can go out to dinner once in a while. ;)

Oh, yes. Then there were the shots and blood test. They got their finger pricked for an iron test. Then they received their flu booster, the H1N1 vaccine, Synagis and one of their12m boosters. YES, poked 5 times!!!! Poor babies. Luckily, Brian is very fast about it all. We had already been in the office for about an hour and a half and the kids were falling asleep. I held Jenna, she was first. I tried waking her up to avoid a very rude awakening. After several attempts with of poking, rubbing and talking to her we just had to do the deed. Unforunately, she was rudely awaken. It is so difficult to hear your child cry like that and keep from crying yourself when you feel so bad for holding them down and "allowing" this to happen. She cried big crocodile tears and then just sort of layed in my arms and gazed at my hair. It was so sweet, between the exhaustion and let down from the rush of surprise and pain, she moved about very slowly reaching up and brushing her fingers through my hair back and forth. Too sweet!!! Jason held Blake for his shots. I think Daddy and Blake may have shared some tears. At least it appeared that Jason was holding an empathetic tear back. Blake cried for a bit and moaned an unhappy moan for a bit. Once we got them settled down, we packed up and went home. Total time spent at pedi appointment time for twins....2 hours. I am sooooooo glad Jason is able to (and insists on) taking them with me. The kids are so lucky to have him as their daddy, and I am for having such a great partner.

All in all, the day went very very well. We go back in three months for their 15m check and to get the remaining boosters. I am so happy to report more wonderful news and pray for continued good health and development. And finally, we want Blake and Jenna to know how very much we love them and of how very proud they continue to make us. We love you "Boogie" and "Chuchi Fruits"! ;)

Jenna's First Zoobie

As Jason posted yesterday, Jenna now has a pearly white little gem of a tooth! Again, Jason is the one who discovered this exciting bit of news. Jason and I noticed that Jenna was chomping down especially hard on her teething toys the last few days and the "drool faucet" opened to full flow. The day before I reached in Jenna's mouth to check her gums and she immediately started crying. Poor gal was in some discomfort so I let it go. The next night while I was running an errand Jason sent me a text sayiing, "I know why Jenna wouldn't let you look in her mouth. Yep, she cut her first tooth." Once again, there I am in some random store with tears in my eyes. SIGH, oh brother! I was so excited to see her when I got back home. Jason said he could see a raised area with a tear and a little hole. Still today, you can barely see it but it has certainly cut through. I'm quickly realizing that we are moving from baby to toddlerhood. Although, you will often still hear (and read) me say baby. I think I am going to hang on to that one a bit longer. ;)

Congrats step closer to sharing McDonald's french fries with mommy!

Monday, January 25, 2010

He's standing.... Let the chaos begin.

Well, every parent has told me "Enjoy it while you can... They grow soooo fast" and that is 100% the truth.

Sat Kim sent me a txt saying that Blake stood up and hovered with his arms out for 3 or 4 seconds before he sat back down. Amazing....
Sun, while I was playin with the kids, he stood up and looked around for several seconds before he sat back down. Won't be too long before he's runnin all over the house... geez... they grow so fast.

Jenna has been a lil tornado at nap/bed time the last day and a half. She'll fall asleep in our arms, but thrashes around and fusses the second we put her down. I was pretty sure it was teething & the vast quantities of drool, and her chomping things clued me in. In preparation for bed time I gave her some Tylenol 30min prior, hoping that it would help her gum pain and let her fall asleep easy. Ummmm no.... Thats when I went to put some oragel on her gums and found that she had cut her tooth, but it was still recessed and hadn't surfaced quite yet! So it's there and ready to pop up any second now. Poor thing, that can not feel good at all. :(

Surprisingly enough, a little fussing is pretty much as bad as their teething has been. We are continually amazed at how easy they are on us. They must either really really love us, or pitty us. Either way, it really makes our life easier! ;)

Tomorrow is going to be a fun day..... It's time for their 12 month shots! Eeeeekkkk
NOT looking forward to that, but I guess it's pretty helpful. So far they have only got sick one time. We could tell that they were fighting off a cold while Kim and I recovered from our Xmas cold, but they never got full blown sick. Miracles DO happen. ha ha

Well, other than that things are pretty normal. Work, play/take care of kids, do some home chores, sleep, then do it all over again....

Hope everyone out there is doing good as well.
Take care.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Look Mommy, No Hands!" ~Blake "Look Mommy, I'm a Rock Star" ~Jenna

Oh My!!! I just witnessed Blake hold a three second squatty sort of stand with NO hands!!! He and Jenna are playing in the "Play Yard" in the livingroom. I look over and she is "toying" with the idea of going from a sitting position to a more vertical one-haha. He holds out his arms to either side and starts lifting up. No toys, toy table near to pull up on. He gets a good half way up, holds it a good three seconds and then back down. What? Are we to see Blake standing on his own soon? Since then, I've seen him try it again!!! Oh my gosh son, SLOW DOWN so mommy can catch up to all these new changes-haha.

Speaking of......he is also starting to give kisses. Granted I think he thinks it's a game. If you give him a kiss and make an "MMMMMMUwa" sound and pull away, then he opens his mouth and leans in. Too cute!! He has done this for three says now.

Little Miss Jenna has a few new things going on to. She has been quite the talker and says "dadadada and babababa". Yesterday I noticed that she was dancing to music. Of the MANY musical toys they have, when she hears it she starts a little wiggle or rocking motion. A girl after my own heart, she loves to dance.

Going to get down and play with these little guys now!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jan 20th-PartI-Physical Therapy Graduate!! Part II-"Proud Parents On Board:Our Kids Are Rule Breakers!"

Yay Jenna!!!! Jenna was released by her physical therapist, Mary Elizabeth today. I am so proud of her. If you recall, we had a bit of a slow start the first few weeks when the kids were brought home and when they started PT at home. Jenna exhibited signs of some tightness in her legs and at times was easily over stimulated, causing her to tense up and tighten up even more. Once Jenna got settled in, she started progressing rather well. She and Blake received physical therapy once a week. Blake sailed through and was released in September or October. Jenna was still being seen once a week until recently which switched to every two weeks. What was once a show of an occasional tightness in her lower body is long gone now. Turns out, some of the muscle tone was due to her nervous system needing additional time to grow into and get accostomed to her new bigger body. Some of the tightening up may have been a compensating behavior as well. It may of been her way of dealing with a feeling of stress. In the last year, she went from being an easily over stimulated gal to a very comfortable, content and playful gal with even more of that spunk we all know so well! Mary Elizabeth has been impressed with Jenna's movements and development for months now. We have seen several changes in her and have watched her exceed our hopes and expectations. When we found out that Jenna had experienced a bilateral ventricular hemorage when she was 12 days old, we could only dream of a day we would receive the news we did today in a mere year. Yay, Jenna! Mommy, Daddy and Blake are so proud to celebrate this great accomplishment with you.

PART II-"Proud Parents On Board:Our Kids are Rule Breakers"

If you've been keeping up with our progress, you've read how both Jason and I continue to be surprised by the "twinkies". When considering their development, they are currently exhibiting 10, 11 and 12 month skills at a ripe age of 8 months. Yes, chronologically they were born a year ago. However, Jason and I often have to remind ourselves that it isn't fair to them if we expect the same abilities from them that we would of full term babies of 12months.It usually takes premature babies at least two years to catch up to peers of their chronological age, sometimes up to five. We plan to give them as much time as they need. :) We certainly do not want to rush things. Afterall, tehy grow fast enough on their own, don't they? Anyways, we were told that babies born as micropreemies usually reach skills 3-4 months later than their adjusted age. We are proud of Blake and Jenna for showing us that they want to be an exception to that "rule". (Come to think of it, they have proven to be quite the little "rule breakers". They have not only caught up to their 8month adjusted age peers, but are quickly catching up to those born at full term! It is truly amazing. Of course part of me wants to boast with pride like those parents do with the nifty bumper stickers that say, "My Child is an honor student at XYZ Elementary School", but more than anything I want my bumper sticker to say, "Proud Parents on Board: Our Kids are Rule Breakers!". haha I realize, this may need to be removed when the kids are old enough to read and question it!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Visiting with Old Friends

Kinsley, Trinity, Jenna & Blake
On Saturday, we went to visit Trena, Keith, Trinity and Kinsley at thier house. We all had such a great time. Trena and I have stayed in touch since our "big release" by texting every other week or so but this is the first time we've gotten the kids together since they've been home.
Blake and Jenna felt very comfortable at thier house. They immediately started playing as soon as we put them on the floor. Boy, Jenna must've had a blast because she was in rare form. She was ALL over the place going from one toy to the next and saying hello to her friends and then back to playing. She was exploring everything and was "talking" all about it.
Wow, the girls look so fantastic! They are doing so great and have grown so much. It was so wonderful to see them healthy and so happy. They have the biggest blue doe eyes ever! These identical beauties are so sweet and are true gems!
Trena surprised us with bday cupcakes (candles included!), gifts and even some party hats for the kids. We got a couple cute pics of all four of the kids in their hats. We had a mini bday party. We all had such fun! We've decided that many more playdates are definitely in order.
Can't wait to see them again!

Fun Day Planned

Today should be a fun one. We were invited over to the O'Brien's house. Yep, Trinity and Kinsley, fellow former 24weekers and NICU neighbors. We haven't seen them since Blake and Jenna got released from the hospital. This will be our first official playdate. We couldn't be happier that it will be with Trinity and Kinsley! Can't wait to see how they've grown and how beautifully big they are.

We may also get to visit another fav nurse, "Auntie Janice". She was Blake's primary night nurse starting the very first day they were admitted and were with the twins all the way through their stay. We have kept in touch with her and check in with one another nearly every week. Her birthday was Tuesday and we are so sad that we let it slip our mind! She called yesterday and invited us to dinner tonight. So we have tentative plans to see her today too!

As part of their first birthday celebration, I wanted to take Blake and Jenna to Build-a-Bear and get them some very special birthday bears made. Jason and I decided we were going to have a doctor bear and a nurse bear made in honor of a few of the most influential people in Blake and Jenna's first year. However, since it rained pretty much all day we wanted to try and avoid the messy roads as much as possible. It's okay though, we had a full day of fun nevertheless. We plan to take them for their birthday bears early in the week.

The kids are up and are playing with their bday balloons this AM. It's pretty cute to watch as they try and grab ahold of them. They keep watching them float around so they bat at them and everyonce in a while are able to "tackle" one to hold. Jenna has one of "those" looks on her face. The kind that says, "I'm warning you, I am not happy about your alusiveness!" Lastnight she kept trying to taste the balloon. After she realized it just wouldn't fit into her mouth, she gave it an angry growl. This morning I see that she has learned to grab it's string and pull it closer to her!

Watching Blake stroll around in the walker this morning has put a not so pleasant thought in my head. As I watched him grab onto the bar of the stationary jumparoo that Jenna was sitting in and pulled himself close to her causing the walker to recklessly balance on two wheels. All the while looking at me with the biggest happiest grin. If he is anything like daddy, and oh how he IS, he will be a fearless and daring child that will frequent the ER for injury accidents. When daddy tosses him in the air, he throws all concern and fear to the wind, laughs a deep tummy laugh and smiles ear to ear. Jason and I were talkeing lastnight about how Blake is such a different baby from what he was in the NICU. While in the NICU, his moves and actions were cautious and thought out. You could see on his face that he would think about what was going on around him and to him. He frequently had looks of "what's going on here?", "where am I", and "what are you all looking at me for?" He was often labeled our thinker. Now, however, he is still a thinker but since he has gained a *few* pounds and grown into his body and has gained some confidence and comfort, he has thrown most fear out the window. He is laid back and rearely gets mad, is always looking for the nearest opportunity to socialize, loves to laugh and can be seen with a big boyish grin from ear to ear. tha is if you can keep up with his constant motion.

Jenna is a lot like she was in the NICU. She was deemed our "little firecracker", "little spitfire" and most of all, our "spunky one" who wasn't afraid to tell you what she thought. I am so glad that still rings true. We love her little spunky attitude and that she wears her emotions on her face. You can't always read her looks, as she has many to decifer. She, too, is laid back in many ways but she knows what she likes and knows how to let you know when she is not impressed with something. One thing that has changed is that she is just so much happier and "smiley". After about two months of being home, it was as if she turned a new leaf. From a serious and some what unsure manner to a much relaxed and happy one. We were so happy to see her face frequent a big beautiful smile. She is very attentive and can focus on a "task" for a pretty impressive amount of time. She has a cute sense of humor too! She really enjoys laughing and being tickled. She quickly becomes our little "giggle box" when you get her going by tickling her tummy. Here lately she has been quite the "talker". Her latest is, "babababa". Momma especially likes when she is absent mindedly working on something like folding laundry and hears an "uh!" only to look up to see her little ray of sunshine smiling at her, her whole face lit up so brightly.

Well, guess it's time for me to stop marveling and hit teh grocery store. A much less enjoyable time spent. Oh well, the faster I get it done, the faster I can be back.

Friday, January 15, 2010


TXT sent to Anna, April, Janice, & Dr. Su. this morning.(this could have gone out to many many more, but we don't have their personal #)

Just one short year ago, our lives were completely changed with the early arrival of our precious babies.
Dr. Su was one of the very first people to lay eyes on them and helped ensure they stayed with us. Their journey had just begun. From that moment, they had the most amazing guardian angels watching over them 24hrs a day.

They owe their very survival to the angels that perform miracles on a daily basis.
They will grow up knowing the struggles they worked through and the amazing people that were there to guide them through safely.
You will never know how grateful we are that each one of you were there to give them the attention and love they needed to grow strong so they could come home to us.

Happy birth day Jenna & Blake.
Love to all of you as well.
-Jason & Kim

Well, last night/this AM Kim and I went through all the picasa web photo albums. It certainly brought back a lot of memories.
This morning both Kim and I woke up in a great mood. We greeted the lil ones with a happy birthday song and gave them a bath.
While we were sitting around down stairs, a little inspiration hit me and I wanted Dr. Su and our nurses to know how much we appreciate all the things they have done for the twins and us, so Kim and I wrote out a txt.
It just so happened that Dr. Su & Anna were in a big staff meeting. Anna said that in the middle of the meeting, she hopped up and ran around the table to show Dr. Su. Both of them got a little misty. Thats ok, we were misty writing it.
It also worked out that they had a few spare minutes to visit with us after their meeting. "Luckily" for us, it was chilly and raining, just like the day we brought them home. So we bundled the kids up and took them up to the hospital to visit with their guardian angels. :)

It was really neat seeing several of the nurses and doctors that spent hours and hours looking over our babies, making sure they made it to another day.

Kim and I have talked many times about how much these nurses and Dr.'s put "everything" into their jobs and the babies they care for. It's kinda sad to us that they don't often get to see the results of all their hard work. I test software for a living.... If software breaks, or doesn't go out on time, nobody is really going to notice. What these people do Every day; effects peoples lives, for the rest of their lives. There are not too many professions in this world that have such a profound impact on so many people. Keep up the great work; you have our heartfelt gratitude!

The rest of the day was great. We spent the rest of the day playing with the kids, then after dinner we gave the kids their present and took some birthday pics. We decided not to have a big birth day party on their actual birth day. Instead, we will celebrate on their original due date when they will be 1 yr old developmentally. So, we had a pretty relaxing day with the kids. We'll also do a little family dinner so everyone can get together.

All in all, a great day.
Here are the pics from the NICU visit and BDay present.

Click me for BirthDay Pics
Click me for NICU Pics



Well, I can't seem to fall asleep so I may as well post.........
Like Jason reported, we started the day with singing Happy Birthday to Jenna and Blake. They woke up in great moods and greeted us with smiles and outreached arms. We figured since they really enjoy bubble baths, we would continue our morning with giving them some new bath toys and letting them get "squeeky clean". Jenna enjoys splashing the water so much that by the end of her bath, I'm soaked, the floor is flooded and the tub is *nearly* empty. Blake on the other hand goes into automatic "mellow" mode while in the bathtub. He calmly plays with his bath toys and relaxes as if he is enjoying a day at the spa. I call Jenna our"Splasher" and Blake our "Bather".

After their bath we brought them down for some play time. We played on the floor and then in the walker and jumparoo. These days, Blake gets around so well in their walker that he strolls all over the kitchen, diningroom and livingroom. He knows how to "shift into reverse" as well as into "turbo"-haha. He manuevers around here like he owns the place. Jenna is starting to explore what it's like to "walk" around in it. She especially is curious about the see through window in the tray of the walker. She likes to look at her feet and at the things that pass under her as she "walks" around.

Once we sent the text this morning and found out that Dr. Su and Anna would be available for a visit, we dressed the kids in their "birthday shirts" and headed that way.

It was a unique feeling walking those hospital post partum hallways again. I couldn't help but to take note that even though it had been a year, the smell, appearance and atmosphere made it feel as though everything had stayed the same, just the way we left it. ;) I then thought about how many patients must've been there and gone since our time there......then about how much time had really passed and how much things had changed at our far the kids have come from the time they were born a year ago today, to that very moment. I walked that trek to the NICU more content than I think I ever had before.

We were able to visit with several people of our NICU family. As we were catching Gabe and Amy and a few others up on what Blake and Jenna have been up to, Anna finished up in her meeting and came out to visit. It was so great to see her and to have the kids see her again. She was with the kids since day 2 of their stay. I can't say enough about the care she provided Jenna and Blake (and us). Shortly after, Dr. Su finished up in the meeting and came out. All I could do is give him a huge hug. He asked us about their development and health and just couldn't be happier to hear that we had such great reports to share. We were able to spend quite a bit of time with them today just catching up and visiting. I can't imagine going through Blake and Jenna's bday without at least talking to them and thanking them.

Jenna enjoyed playing with Amy's retractable name badge when we first got there. She went from nurse to nurse visiting and saying "Hello, look at me now". Blake looked around curiously and hammed it up from time to time. We got there at 11:45 and were there for probably an hour. They had yet to nap today. Jenna was really tired. Poor thing could barely keep her eyes open half way through our visit. It was really cute though cause once she got so tired, she got to snuggle while being held my Anna, Crystal and then Dr. Su. Blake got to have a few laughs with Dr. Su and really wanted to get ahold of his glasses. After some time, the fun had to end....afterall, there were little babies who needed the care and attention like we needed and received once not too long ago.

On our way through the hospital we saw Lucy, Kat and a few other postpartum nurses. Lucy and Kat were like my "primary" nurses when they were on shift. They both recognized us right off and greeted us with "drop jaw" smiles as they saw Blake and Jenna. There were a few other nurses that came over to see what all of the "fuss" was about. They were pleasantly surprised at Blake and Jenna's story of strength and accomplishment. Lucy and Kat asked how old they were and when we told them it was their first birthday they just couldn't get over the fact that it had been a year. It's funny how time sneaks away. As we were leaving a strong feeling of relief, pride and contentment was felt by both Jason and I as we strolled Blake and Jenna out with us. It was still raining, but I didn't care. It reminded me of the day the kids were released from the hospital and it brought upon a feeling of deja vu.

When we got back home, we spent the rest of the day playing, taking pictures and playing with their birthday toys. It was a nice evening. One of the best parts was holding Blake and Jenna in our arms, remembering how we longed to snuggle and hold them for days following their birth, and knowing how wonderful it is to do it now.

I really enjoyed celebrating their first birthday and I hope Blake and Jenna had a good day too. Even though they yet to know what birthdays are all about, I hope that especially today, they know how very much I love them, how very special they are and that I am taken back by the amount of joy they bring to my life each and every day.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Birthday Plans

We are in the final days of our countdown to Jenna and Blake's first birthday. Just two more days including today and our little ones will be turning one year old! Friday marks the day Jason and I officially met our little sweeties.

So on Friday, Jason and I will be celebrating with Jenna and Blake by getting lots of playtime in (and pics of course). If the weather allows, we will take a visit to the park. We have decided that it is best to hold off on having a birthday party til after RSV/Flu and cold season. So far we have managed to avoid all of the above by limiting their exposure to large groups of people and limiting being out in public places much. It's proven to be a challenge because if you look at them now, you'd never know they weren't full term babies. We've had to remind ourselves that along with having their medical history, comes the need for extra precautions during the RSV and Flu season for the first year or so. So far we've been able to ward off any further development of the occasional sniffle and sneeze they've had.

We will throw them a big birthday party near their developmental age of one which will also be near their "Homecoming" date. We figure we will combine the two for a celebration of them reaching the developmental age of one and the anniversary that they were released from the NICU and joined us at home. Oh, and don't think I haven't already started planning for their first birthday party-haha. I already have the theme picked out- a classic author/character fav of kids of all ages! Can't wait to see the kids dig into their first cake.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

"Your Boys All Grown Up!"

It is official.........the kids are growing TOO fast! Just months ago I wouldn't have dreamed of saying so. But today, I am. Blake has his FIRST tooth!!!!! Yes, his FIRST tooth!!

"Daddy" noticed the little "zoobie" while I was out running an errand tonight. I was at Hobby Lobby when I received the call from Jason. The first thing he said was, "Your boys all grown up momma!", then the call dropped. Just hearing that I knew Blake had done something pretty big. I kept thinking, "He couldn't have taken his first step!"-haha! Then when we finally got back in touch with one another he told me that Blake has his first tooth. My response? Tears, standing in the middle of the aisle at Hobby Lobby, crying! HA! I couldn't wait to get home to see it myself.

Jason said he was playing on the floor with the kids when Blake climbed over to him and reached for his finger to chew on. When he started chewing on Jason's finger, Jason said he thought, "What the heck?" and started feeling his bottom gum. He felt the sharp little tooth that had apparently come in today. Funny now, it seems Blake went over to daddy to tell him, "Daddy, feel this!".

As soon as I got home I scrubbed up and started feeling around on Blake's gums and tried to take a peek. I found myself wanting to pin him down and pry open his little mouth to see this for myself. So exciting but sad too. My baby is a BABY!!! sigh.....I am so proud though. Although you can see just a clear/white bit poking through, you can certainly feel it.

So, of course this prompted us to feel around in Jenna's mouth. She has been teething just as long as Blake has. Nothing showing yet. I am sure I will be looking each day just expecting to see her first "zoobie" any day now.

Wow, these milestones are proving to be a bit overwhelming for me at times. I just REALLY can't believe that just days shy of a year ago at this time I was looking at my precious, much awaited for, babies through wires, monitors, tubes, incubators and life sustaining medical equipment praying for miracles to happen. Miracles that would allow my babies to become strong and healthy. A full year later....miracles granted, many prayers answered, here we are...all four of us together. Mommy and Daddy watching their miracle babies learning and growing faster than ever.

Truly Blessed. Truly overwhelmed.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Well, I've been meaning to start something new on the blog. I am a "follower" to a blog kept by fellow former NICU mom who posts a "Flashback Friday" posting to her twins' blog each week. She includes a picture from the twins' past and sometimes a thought or two about the pic. I found myself looking forward to checking their blog each Friday to see the pic because it is just amazing seeing where they were then compared to where they are now. So........I've been wanting to start a "Flashback Friday" posting each week on pur blog. I missed doing this yesterday so this week it's "Flashback Saturday"

The first picture was taken on April 6th. It is Mimi (Jason's mom) and Blake. Mimi is giving Blake a little pat or two to help relieve some tummy pressure. At this time, he still had a feeding tube and was being fed via bottle or was nursed and then every third feed was via feeding tube.

The second pic is a fav or mine. It was taken on April 11th of Jason nose to nose with his baby girl. We were in the last month of our 4 1/2 month NICU stay. Jenna was on nasal cannula at the time. The twins were co-cribbing.
When I look back at the pics that were taken while at the hospital, it feels like such a long time ago most days and others, it still feels so new. It's strange how it feels time can stand still but can go so fast too.

A First For Jenna

Well, Jenna did it. Two days ago while Jason was solo watching the kids he said he had them playing in the "play yard" and stepped into the kitchen for something. When he walked back in he found Jenna standing! She was bracing herself with one of the learning tables and was standing. She was proudly smiling while daddy cheered her on. A few minutes later I guess she wasn't too sure what to do next because she started crying. Jason encouraged her and she quickly sat and calmed down. Boy, the kids are growing and learning new things daily.

They both have given up their intermittent low crawling with full on crawling these days. Jenna is currently into climbing, crawling and an occasional stand. Blake is into standing, standing and standing. He gets around very well in the walker. The tile floor has really leant Blake some good times as he "walks" around and around the livingroom, diningroom and kitchen. Jenna is usually content with standing in the walker playing with her toys. She is starting to move around a bit in it and I'm sure will be strolling around soon. It may be time to get a 2nd walker soon.

The kids are really enjoying their new toys. Instead of putting out all of their new toys, we've decided to take out two or so at a time. We like to rotate toys out weekly so that they will have renewed interest in toys they already have. We are adding in a new toy sor two in each rotation. That way the kids can explore new things each week and can re-explore toys they've already had. It has worked very well so far (thanks for the tip veteran moms).

I forgot to mention one of the kids' neatest gifts that they got for Christmas. Their Aunt Donna handmade them Christmas stockings. They are awesome! Donna and I were given handmade Christmas stockings by a great aunt when we were kids that both of us still have. Donna make Blake's and Jenna's in a similar way. They are made of felt, sequins and beads. She put a lot of work into them and it certainly shows. I'll include pics when I add more to the site.

Well, I'm off to play with the kids. More to come soon as I'm sure they will do something today worth posting about.